Unidentied KCR railway scene | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Unidentied KCR railway scene

Primary tabs

Unidentied KCR railway scene


This image within Chinarail's collection shows an unidentified KCR trackside scene somewhere in the N.T. The gauge of the track in the foreground appears to be narrow-gauge, which points to the Fanling-Shataukok branch line. The larger goods wagon to the right and the brake-van (or ‘guards-van’) are, however, standard gauge. This is also supported by the two Chinese characters 粵漢  (Yueh-Han) on the goods wagon’s side.  This wagon, therefore, belonged to the Canton-Hankow Railway (Yueh-Han Railway) but it was common for rolling stock from this railway to be loaned or used on through trains to Hong Kong from Canton, even though from a different railway line.  This would suggest that this picture was taken near Fanling, the narrow-gauge railway terminus. Also on the centre foreground is a small track-mounted armoured vehicle, probably from the Fanling army camp.                     

The date of this picture, however, is also a puzzle because the Fanling-Shataukok line discontinued operations in 1926 and the track was lifted. Having said this, the date of my picture is understood to be from a batch of photos taken between 1946 and 1949 so things do not quite add up. Today I was copying this picture for another purpose and I suddenly noticed a feature, which had escaped my attention previously. Behind the railway track in the distance is a pavilion or pailau-type structure in the village fields below the track embankment. I now recall seeing another picture of this structure on some internet site. Perhaps it was this one, but I cannot find it today. I seem recall that the temporary structure was erected by villagers as a memorial to some royal event; perhaps it was a coronation or jubilee event ... I just cannot recall clearly. 

Can anyone identify the exact location and also the date based on the temporary buildings?

Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Sunday, January 1, 1950


That's an interesting photo. Unfortunately I don't know the NT well enough to spot a location.

I wonder if you could get a rough year for the photo by identifying the armoured vehicle. It looks as though it has a small turret on top, something like a light tank.

Do you think it was pulling the wagon using its caterpillar tracks, or it somehow ran on rails?

Regards, David

If the tracked vehicle is actually a light military tank, the Tank Museum at Bovingdon UK should be able to identify it from a cropped version of the picture. That should at least give a date range for the picture. Enquire at:-http://www.tankmuseum.org/home

The design looks Japanese. perhaps modified as an Railway Armoured Car

look at this link;


Fivestar, you're appear to be right in thinking it is a Japanese Tank, but I don't think it is a type 94 Tankette. The tank above has a "X" suspention configiration.

I'm struggeling to find the name, but I believe it is this (maybe a Type 95 Dual purpose Armored Vehicle) : 

Tanks run on the railway


I Googled and found a load of Japanes Type 95 photos.  They doesn't seem to match if you put them side by side.

Best Regards,



  I think the suspension has been modified. The upper X beam appears to be leaf springs unlike the lower X.

The question is if the narrow guage track was removed in 1926, the timeline is still incorrect?, however on a closer at the photo I don't think the tracks in the foreground are any narrower than those in the background.

Here is a photo that I think was taken in southern China.

Perhaps that extra suspention was only used when on the railway lines?

These photos didn't come out in the above thread, so I'll redo them.

Rail Tank


Most interesting, I assume the tracks would have to be spinning and the drive to the two rail axles was taken somehow from the first and last bottom rollers.

You are right fivestar, about the track gauge. Yesterday I was already begining to change my mind about the track gauge in the foreground when I was re-examining the picture.  I had been led astray by the diminuative two-axled wagon hitched up behind the tank. Upon second thoughts this was probably an ammunition wagon for the tank and had been deliberately designed to have a low profile compared with normal goods wagons.


I think you have probably got it Craig. What model tank was it?


The photo above is of a type 95.

I suspect that the extra top suspention, which is not usually found on a T95, is just to stiffen it up while on the railways. If the tank was going over open and rough terrain then they would propably remove it to give extra traction and a smoother ride. I'm no tank expert, so i could be wrong

I got some info from this site (had to use google translate):


even if it's not the small gauge branch line the fact that there seems to be two lines may help narrow the location down a little bit because the KCR was single track until well into the late 1970's. So I guess this must have been in a siding or station somewhere. The terrain (flat with low hills in the background) still makes me think it was in the Fanling area - perhaps looking NE?

To me it appears to be where the KCR Museum is in Tai Po. The embankment appears similar?

no i don't think it's Tai Po, the open terrain to the left doesn't seem right for it to be at the museum/old station area regardless of which direction you might be facing.

Yes, I tend to think its a siding near the Fanling area or possibly Sheung Shui.

The key is that pailau -cum-pavilion structure visible behind the railway embankment. I have definitely seen that featured in either a postcard or photograph featured on a web site not long ago. ( it might have been Ebay). I recall it was a strucure built by villagers to commemorate an event ( I think perhaps a Royal event :- George VI 25th Wedding anniversary (1948) or perhaps the Queens corronation in 1953? although by then, captured Japanese war equipment would have surely been removed?

I think the photo is taken from behind a window and the pailau-cum-pavilion structure is behind the photographer unless the structure is a "ghost".

Look at the white roof behind the structure.

The mystery deepens further now with the appearance of possible
"ghosts"......................... you do have a point though... That thing with  ball in the middle does look rather "see through".

I suspect this might be the stretch of line adjacent to the Better 'Ole bar in Fanling . Long defunct , it was still referred to as the " ration siding " as Late as the 1970s. A long abandoned rail truck was still on the line. The ghostly structure in the photo is definitely double exposure or a reflection.

I remember that wagon lying undisturbed and rusting in that siding for many years. There's a problem, however, with your suggestion that this scene was adjacent to the Better 'Ole in Fanling. The railway track at that location was at ground level (remember the level crossing at the end of the platform?) This scene depicts the railway track on a raised embankment with a retaining concrete wall at least 8 or 9 feet high, judging from the height of the tank.

Hi there,

I don't see anything ghostly.  The Pai Fong just looked unfinished.  Just scaffoldings to me.  We could see through what's between the bamboo is all.   However I am no photography expert.......

Best Regards,


I believe this to be a siding just a little way from Fanling Station (can't decide north or south at the mo but erring north). The small hills in the back left are those belonging to the Wa Shan/Tsung Shan area just east of Sheung Shui (the same ridge that Gallipoli Lines backs up on to).

I think the pointy hill seen through the branches centre frame is Wu Tong Shan in the Shenzhen side of Sha Tau Kok.

If I was to make a guess at this point I would say somewhere close to where the Fanling Recreation ground is today.

  If you are looking at the railway line from where the Fanling recreation ground is today, then surely the hills in the background would be in a Westerly direction towards Pak Tao To Yan?

Could it not be looking west from near Sheung Shui Station?

@chinarail, where were the proceeding and succeeding photos taken? it may give us a clue to this photo's location.

hi fivestar - Sorry, I was simply referring to the rough position because that was the nearest landmark I could see. I should perhaps have specified that the photographer would be on the opposite side of the track looking north east.

Looking west from Sheung Shui is perhaps also a contender - the lower hills could be the hilly area around Tit Hang village (near to the Lok ma Chau border crossing). There's a lot of open ground between Sheung Shui and those hills (largely taken up by the golf course). However, my gut feeling is still Fanling looking ne (ish)



A very valid point Phil. I concluded looking westish because from memory most "carparks" were on the east side of the tracks.

@ 'fivestar' : The preceding/following photographs are not helpful. This picture is from a batch of reprints not in sequence ( taken on different dates & at different locations).